On Tuesday morning, after Monday’s “black” Eurogroup, in SYRIZA’s camp the trumpet sounded “Tsipras forget the tie!” followed by an appropriate funeral march. But, it was Greece that came back empty handed, on debt relief. Not even some positive promise, which might open the door to the coveted QE and the restoration of liquidity to our banks and the depressed economy.
In a previous note on Koumoundouros Voice, I had stressed the Prime Minister’s need to take heed of history, if only his own. He would quickly find out very that “the wages of procrastination is death”.
Every month of delay in the evaluation process, maintains and deepens the crisis of the Greek economy, cutting down some 1 million euro from our national income. The uncertainty that it creates pushes away any hope of investments, which is our only way out of the crisis.
Our creditors with the passage of time ask for more and more austerity measures and lose the last bits of confidence they had in our government. If the second evaluation had been completed by mid October last year, as our Prime Minister had stated in September, it is certain that many cuts in pensions, would have been avoided and the question of high fiscal surpluses of 3,5 percent of gdp beyond 2020 would not have been demanded, complicating IMFs re-entry in the programme.
Now, in the aftermath of the “black Monday” Eurogroup, Tsipras performed yet another of his habitual somersaults and shelved the debt relief, saying that our primary concern is a comeback in the financial markets. We must remind him that in 2014, when through the trick of aborting the new Presidential election he caused premature elections, Greece had already come back to the markets and in the third quarter of 2014 the economy had passed into positive growth. It was his action in company with ANEL’s nationalists, that pulled Greece once more out of the markets and thrown it back into the crisis. Unfortunately, the fees of “his coming of age” are paid dearly by the Greek People.
The question is: Why all this? The hard answer is that this is the necessary fodder, to persuade the flock of SYRIZANEL parliamentarians and other naive partisans that the government fights on the bastions a “hard” negotiation. But in this case, it is stupid rather than hard, ending in a worse deal than the one that was on the table nine months ago.
A basic rule of any hard negotiation is to read coolly the other party. SYRIZANEL trumpet about various “red lines”, knowing damned well that they will shortly swallow them down as a bitter pill. Another safe rule is, grab what you can get at an opportune moment, when French, German and other European elections are not yet in sight. Such rules, however, presume than you have your own serious long-term plan and a clever strategy. Unknown quantities to SYRIZA brains that, in the Prime Minister’s own words, suffer from self-deceptions and – I would add – from Marxist tumours, that distort their vision.
Let me spell out few plain facts for creditors and borrowers alike. (1) The social insurance system will never become sustainable, with 1.500.000 unemployed and an ageing population that grows smaller every day. (2) The economy cannot be resuscitated without foreign investments, a smaller public sector, less bureaucracy and a reduction in overwhelming taxation and social insurance rates. These only send waves of Greek enterprises to Bulgaria and shiploads of educated young Greeks abroad. The ones that stay behind excel in the noble sport of tax evasion, when the State tries to take away three quarters of their income in taxes and social contributions. (3) Such drastic reforms cannot be carried out by people, who hate entrepreneurship, shed tears when they are obliged to vote them in and try to stop them with cheap tricks.
For the good of all of us, including SYRIZA itself, let them allow Greeks to decide their own future, through one more election, among the three that they have resorted to in the last 3 years. One more could spell the salvation of Greece and their own return to some sort of psychological health.
By Maximos 25 May 2017